Alain Delon as Francis Verlot, swaggering small-time thief
Paris, September 1960
Film: Any Number Can Win
(French title: Mélodie en sous-sol)
Release Date: April 3, 1963
Director: Henri Verneuil
Any Number Can Win was adapted from Zekial Marko’s 1959 novel The Big Grab, the first of the author’s crime stories that would be adapted to films starring Alain Delon. Marko himself would adapt his novel Scratch a Thief into Once a Thief (1965), starring Delon, Ann-Margret, and Van Heflin.
Considered one of the best and certainly among the most stylish movies of the early 1960s, the ice-cool Any Number Can Win—released in France as Mélodie en sous-sol—begins with recently released ex-con Charles (Jean Gabin) searching for a new partner to help him with his ambitious heist. “I have a kid who just might jut cut it… I hope I don’t find him good for scrap.”
We then cut to what looks like a messy bachelor pad, where a young man is sprawled out on his bed, snapping his fingers to the jazz on his record player. He’s already dressed for larceny in his leather jacket, a dinner plate doubling as an ashtray—crowded with spent Gitanes and shelved on a pile of books—not far from his reach. Pulling back, we reveal that the “bachelor pad” is merely a corner of the family apartment that the young man shares with his reasonably concerned mother, whose shout from the kitchen leaps him to attention… revealing the one and only Alain Delon!